The All-Star first baseman looks for another big performance at the plate as he tries to help the Cincinnati Reds to a fifth straight win overall and on the road Wednesday night against the Marlins.
Votto is a .355 hitter in 38 career meetings with the Marlins, including .440 with five homers and 11 RBIs in the past 13. He's 12 for 23 while driving in five runs in his last six visits to Miami.
The venue hasn't made much of a difference of late, as the 2010 NL MVP is 10 for 15 with two homers and four RBIs over the past three matchups. Votto had three hits and drew a bases-loaded walk in a 6-2 win Tuesday in the opener of this three-game series.
He's a big reason the Reds (23-16) have won four in a row on the road, going 10 for 16 while scoring five runs. His .393 average away from home is among the NL's best, and he's 3 for 4 with a homer against Marlins scheduled starter Alex Sanabia .
Brandon Phillips has keyed Cincinnati's overall four-game win streak, driving in four runs and scoring four while reaching base seven times.
Though Phillips is hitting .322 with 17 RBIs on the road, Cincinnati has hit .228 while going 7-10.
Mike Leake (2-2, 4.32 ERA) will be hoping for more help from the Reds lineup after getting only eight runs of support in his last four starts while going 1-2.
The right-hander is averaging less than six innings per start, a trend he'll try to change after watching Homer Bailey throw a six-hitter in Tuesday's victory.
"It's definitely a goal to pitch deep into a game," Leake told the team's official website. "Sometimes you're not fortunate, but I try to keep focused and give them at least six innings every time out."
Leake did go seven-plus innings last Wednesday, when he gave up four runs and eight hits - two homers - in a 7-2 home loss to Atlanta.
The right-hander defeated the Marlins (11-28) in his only lifetime start against them, yielding three runs in six innings of a 5-4 win in Cincinnati on Aug. 14, 2010.
Leake is facing a Miami team which is batting .194 with 12 runs scored during a 1-6 stretch.
"It seems like all these different (lineup) combinations we use seem to produce the same thing," manager Mike Redmond said.
Justin Ruggiano and Greg Dobbs are among the major culprits for the offensive woes. Over the last seven games, Ruggiano is 4 for 24 with nine strikeouts and Dobbs is 1 for 23 after they combined to go 0 for 8 on Tuesday. While Ruggiano has never faced Leake, Dobbs is 1 for 7 with a homer against him.
Sanabia (2-5, 4.85) had his scheduled turn in the rotation pushed back due to tightness in his groin.
The injury forced the right-hander to exit his most recent outing with one out in the fifth after giving up four runs and nine hits in a 5-1 loss at San Diego on May 7.
Sanabia has lost four straight starts, surrendering 16 runs and 27 hits in 22 innings. That skid started with a 10-6 loss at Cincinnati on April 21, when he issued a career-high five walks and hit two batters while surrendering five runs in six innings.
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 27, 2013||Chris Heisey||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained hamstring|
|April 24, 2013||Manny Parra||15-Day DL||Strained left pectoral muscle|
|April 22, 2013||Jonathan Broxton||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Zack Cozart||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|April 20, 2013||Ryan Hanigan||15-Day DL||Strained left oblique|
|May 08, 2013||Chris Valaika||15-Day DL||Fractured left wrist|
|May 06, 2013||Donovan Solano||15-Day DL||Strained left intercostal muscle|
|April 30, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 29, 2013||Giancarlo Stanton||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|April 28, 2013||Joe Mahoney||15-Day DL||Hamstring strain|
|April 17, 2013||Adeiny Hechavarria||15-Day DL||Bruised left elbow|
MIAMI (AP) -- Shin-Soo Choo's first home run landed in the nightclub beyond the left-field fence, catching by surprise revelers distracted by the Miami Heat on TV.
His second homer dropped into the right-field bullpen amid Marlins relievers, who saw ball coming.
Clearing the hard-to-reach fence both ways, Choo went 4 for 5 Wednesday and helped the Cincinnati Reds extend their winning streak to a season-best five games by beating Miami 4-0.
Mike Leake and three relievers combined on an 11-hitter for the Reds.
Choo hit solo homers in the fourth and sixth inning, giving him nine this season. His ninth career multihomer game came in a spacious stadium where sluggers tend to struggle.
"This ballpark is big," Choo said. "Some balls fly, some don't. I'm not thinking about hitting homers. I'm just swinging hard."
The two-homer effort was his second in eight days, but he came into the game batting only .225 in May.
"I haven't been feeling great," he said, "but tonight I hit the ball on the barrel."
Leake (3-2) went 6 2-3 innings, pitched around nine hits and lowered his ERA to 3.72. Reds ace Johnny Cueto is expected to return next week after being sidelined since mid-April by a sore arm, and manager Dusty Baker bristled when asked if Leake's performance saved his spot in the rotation.
"Who's talking about keeping his spot?" Baker said. "He's doing better than some of the guys on our staff. I don't understand why it was coming down between him and somebody else anyway. Leake has pitched well. It shouldn't have been thought of. We'll worry about that when we get there."
Leake walked one and hit a batter. The Marlins had 14 baserunners but stranded 12 and hit into two double plays.
"I definitely was out of the stretch quite a bit," Leake said. "They hit a few balls hard, but a few of them weren't hit too hard."
Miami managed three infield hits among their 10 singles but went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
"We're just not getting it done," manager Mike Redmond said. "I don't know how to dress it up any more than that. I'm trying to be patient, but at the end of the day, somebody's got to step up and get a hit with a guy in scoring position."
With the home team giving the crowd of 14,866 little to cheer about, the biggest roars came when highlights of the Heat's playoff victory over the Chicago Bulls two miles away were shown on the video scoreboard.
The Marlins were shut out for the seventh time, most in the majors. Cincinnati climbed a season-high eight games above .500 and improved to 5-1 against Miami, which has lost four in a row.
The Marlins fell to 0-10 this year with the retractable roof open in their stadium. The ball carries better in those conditions, and Choo twice sent it flying off Alex Sanabia (2-6).
Choo also led off the game with a single and scored on a double by NL RBI leader Brandon Phillips . Joey Votto added two hits and an RBI for the Reds, who improved to 20-6 when they score first.
Choo's four hits tied a career high, and he raised his average to .322. He improved to 5 for 5 lifetime against Sanabia.
"Other than that he's batting like 1.000 off me, there's not much to say," Sanabia said. The right-hander allowed four runs in six innings and has lost five consecutive starts.
The Reds led 4-0 in the seventh when Miami mounted a threat. With runners at second and third, Sean Marshall came on and struck out rookie Derek Dietrich with a 3-2 curve to end the inning.
Miami put two runners aboard again in the ninth. Aroldis Chapman then threw seven fastballs of at least 100 mph to Dietrich, who finally struck out looking on a changeup.
"That guy can bring it," Dietrich said. "He made a great pitch when he needed to."
The Marlins rank last in the majors in wins at home, where they're 5-13.
Notes: Cincinnati 3B Todd Frazier , batting .229, was given the night off. ... Reds starters have allowed one earned run in 22 1-3 innings over the past three games. ... ... Miami's Chris Coghlan singled in the seventh to improve to 6 for 18 as a pinch hitter. ... Cincinnati RHP Mat Latos will try to win his fifth consecutive decision in the series finale Thursday against rookie Jose Fernandez .